‘I cannot start my day without a cup of coffee’ is a motto many people live by. When I think of caffeine, my mind thinks of coffee. What I don’t think of is how addictive it can be while also being helpful in reducing certain health risks. Coffee used to be something that only the grown-ups would drink. If one goes into a Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks, preteens are drinking only frozen coffee. Coffee is a want, not a need. When people say they need a cup to start the day, that may just be all in their heads.

I cannot remember the first time I tried coffee, but I’ve definitely developed a love for it. I don’t drink it for the caffeine; I simply enjoy a fresh iced coffee. Caffeine is a drug produced in the leaves and seeds of certain plants that gives the body an energy boost. Many other edibles, such as tea, Red Bull and even chocolate contain caffeine. I think many tend to get into a habit of having caffeine everyday. I know that an avid consumer of caffeine can be prone to headaches when there is a lack of the drug in the body.

Philip Bergeron / Graphic Design Editor

Philip Bergeron / Graphic Design Editor

Some of my friends have complained that they get shakes or stomach aches from coffee. I’ve experienced this too, so I eat food whenever I drink coffee. According to kidshealth.org, jitters, headaches and anxiety can be caused by higher doses of caffeine. A person’s sensitivity to coffee decreases the more he/she drinks. While acknowledging that caffeine can be addictive, everdayhealth.com stated that it can also reduce health risks such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Caffeine can also help treat ADHD because it enhances focus. Still, I think it gets out of hand when people on campus are buying coffee from Bean & Bagel late at night. I understand many students stay up late and need a kick of energy, but I don’t see how that is a healthy habit to develop. I can’t lie, some days my tastebuds long for a Hazelnut iced coffee (yes, even in the winter), but I know getting into an everyday coffee habit is bad.

I read on everdayhealth.com that the newest product is inhalable caffeine called AeroShot. It is a lipstick sized container with 100 milligrams of caffeine: equivalent to one large cup of coffee. This is currently only available in Massachusetts, New York and France. The website states that the AeroShot was up for review by the Food and Drug Administration.

Hearing of an inhaler that administers caffeine troubles me. Creating something like this seems just as bad as drinking a caffeinated beverage. I think that this could be a healthier option, but it’s making the addiction easier and taking the flavor out of it. If I want caffeine, I want to enjoy it through flavor, not powder.

A chart on caffeineinformer.com shows that a small 10 fluid ounce coffee from Dunkin Donuts contains 70 mg of caffeine, while a 12 fluid ounce Pepsi contains 38.9 mg. I find it hard to keep track of what I’m putting into my body. The amount of these beverages that we drink should be monitored. I, for one, don’t want to get headaches on days I don’t drink coffee. Drinking more water or juice instead of a coffee or soda is much more refreshing. Unfortunately, Red Bull does not give you wings and America doesn’t always run on Dunkin.

Heather O’Brien can be contacted at hobrien@kscequinox.com

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